Geologic Road Guides

(See overview page for more information.)

HW-24
I-70 near Green River to I-70 near Richfield, Utah (through Capitol Reef National Park)

0.0 Bridge Over Interstate 15 at the Hanksville interchange and Junction of Utah State Highway 24.  The interchange is in lacustrine and fluvial Brushy Basin Member of the Jurassic Morrison Formation. Light-colored sandstone lenses are fluvial deposits which interfinger with varicolored mudstone and siltstone. Toward the west the underlying Salt Wash Member of the Morrison Formation forms the irregular dip slope in the foreground. The Reef of the San Rafael Swell (fig. 7.1) forms the flatirons in the background and is composed, in large part, of Navajo Sandstone from this view. Toward the east the persistent ledge former near the top of the exposures is the Buckhorn Conglomerate, the basal member of the Cretaceous Cedar Mountain Formation (figs. 7.2, 7.3).

0.8   Serpentine ridges toward the west and along the road are held up by sandstones of channel fills in Morrison-age streams. Softer alluvial plain sediments have been eroded away, leaving the channels now expressed in inverted topography with the former low areas standing high.

1.1   Double road cuts through crossbedded, light-colored Morrison channel-fill sandstone, at about the contact of the upper Brushy Basin with the lower Salt Wash Members of the formation. Ancient paleochannels are well expressed by ridges to the west.

2.7   Double road cuts through light colored Morrison channel fill. Rounded pinkish and purple bluffs of the Brushy Basin beds capped by Buckhorn Conglomerate rise above the highway on the east. The vegetated area on the west is along the San Rafael River. The road to the south is approximately on the top of the Salt Wash Member.

3.8   Road crosses paved segment of old highway in Morrison beds.

4.0   Road now crosses through numerous sandstone lenses in the Salt Wash Member of the Morrison Formation. These show elongate meandering of the paleochannels. Deposits of both braided and meandering streams are evident in the series of cuts.

4.5   Junction of ranch road to the south. Beyond the junction deep cuts through greenish clay and sandstone mark the basal part of the Morrison Formation above the reddish Summerville rocks.

4.8   Contact of the Morrison Formation on gypsiferous Summerville Formation in the lower western end of the deep double road cuts. Tan to reddish brown mudstone is interbedded with knobby and lenticular gypsum in the upper part of the Summerville exposures.

5.0 Bridge Over the San Rafael River.  Excellent exposures of laminated Summerville Formation occur below Morrison beds both north and south of the road. Directly ahead the steeply dipping east flank of the San Rafael Swell is exposed with Navajo Sandstone forming the white outcrops.

Figure 7.3. Upper Morrison Formation capped by prominent massive Buckhorn Conglomerate which is the basal member of the Cretaceous Cedar Mountain Formation. The banded Morrison beds here are thought to have been deposited in lake environments

5.9   Nodular gypsiferous units of the Summerville Formation exposed in the bluff (fig. 7.4) and road cuts to the west (right). Recent sand dunes blanket most of the valley bottom and alluvial flats to the south and southeast and up the flank of the hill.

Figure 7.4. Westward from the highway at approximately Mile 5.9 to well-bedded cliff-forming Summerville Formation capped by a slope zone and ledges of the lower part of the Morrison Formation.

7.3   Rise to the top of the road cuts. Summerville ledges, capped by Morrison beds, are exposed to the east. The eastern Reef of the San Rafael Swell is visible to the west and is cut with many deep, narrow, joint-controlled pockets. The dark-colored flatirons at the base of the white Navajo Sandstone are in basal fossiliferous limestone units of the Carmel Formation. The valley to the west is carved in large part in upper beds of the Carmel Formation and lower beds of the Entrada Formation.

10.2   Scenic turn out. Book Cliffs show to the north, the La Sal Mountains to the east and the Reef on the east side of the San Rafael Swell is visible to the west (fig. 7.5). Terraces of gravel-capped pediments over the Carmel-Entrada sequence are also visible in the intermediate distance to the west. These terraces are somewhat akin to pediments over the Mancos Shale in the vicinity of the Book Cliffs to the north.

Figure 7.5. View northwestward from the scenic turnout at Mile 10.2 of The Reef of the San Rafael Swell. The steep cockcombs are in Wingate and Navajo Sandstones and low V-shaped flatirons near the base are in lower beds of the Carmel Formation, The abrupt monoclinal flexure shows very well in the steep attitude of the Navajo and older beds as compared to the nearly flat lying younger series exposed toward the right.

10.8   Gorges through the Reef on the east flank of the San Rafael Swell are visible ahead to the southwest. Much of the flat land along the road for several miles is veneered by drifting sand derived in large part from erosion of the Entrada Sandstone.

12.7 Cross Bridge Over Iron Wash.   The old road shows to the east. This used to be a ford across the gully but several people have been swept downstream from here during flash floods. Road cuts are through gravel terraces related to Iron Wash. Iron Wash heads in the San Rafael Swell to the west and has cut one of the V-shaped gorges through the reef visible to the southwest. Lenticular, wavy-bedded, light green sandstone of the basal Entrada Formation to the east, is visible beneath rippled pink sandstones of the overlying part of the formation.

16.0   Drop down to south off the escarpment held up by slick rock sandstones of the Entrada Formation. The road below the escarpment is on poor exposures of the Carmel Formation which form the reddish and orange silty exposures to the southwest, beneath the light green basal Entrada Sandstone.

18.3   Poor exposures of greenish cuts in Entrada Sandstone visible along both sides of the road. The Henry Mountains are visible to the south at ten to eleven o’clock. Little Flattop, Mid Flattop, and South Flattop Buttes to the south at ten o’clock are held up by Morrison and Summerville beds.

21.1   Cross Old Woman Wash. Some light-colored Entrada Sandstone beds are exposed in the bluffs on the north and in poor exposures on the south side of the wash.

22.4   Deflation hummocks of recent sands visible both east and west of the road. These are points where sand has been trapped by growing plants and the intervening sand has been blown away, leaving hummocks of loose sand behind.
,br /> Ahead small barchan dunes are visible to the right and left of the road. These have their horns pointing toward the northeast indicating the direction of transport or origin of the sand is from the southwest.

25.2 Junction of Paved Road to the West into Temple Mountain Wash and Toward Goblin Valley State Park.  There was a gas station and small store here at the junction during the uranium boom of the 1950-60s. Temple Mountain is on the skyline to the west (fig. 7.6). For a guide to Temple Mountain and Goblin Valley see HW-24 Road Guide.. Utah State Highway 24 continues to the south through dune fields. Several excellent ripple-marked barchan dunes are exposed in the immediate vicinity of the road.

Figure 7.6. View westward from approximately Mile 25.2 of Temple Mountain, a bleached outlier of Wingate Sandstone, which rises along the margin of the San Rafael Swell. Recent sand dunes are moving across Entrada beds.

27.7   Excellent barhan sand dunes in the immediate vicinity of the road (fig. 7.7).

28.8 Cattle Guard. Golson Butte and Little Golson Butte   are ornately carved Entrada Formation and are visible on the skyline to the west. The road continues through recent sand dunes.

30.2   Panorama to the south from a high point on the road. Boulder Mountain forms the low rounded hill beyond Factory Butte to the southwest. The intricately carved green Curtis and red Entrada Formations are exposed at the south end of Goblin Valley. Thousand Lake Mountain forms the rounded promontory on the skyline at about two o’clock. High peaks of the Henry Mountains can be seen at eleven o’clock beyond Hanksville, The road is in the massive light basal Entrada Sandstone, above the red Carmel Formation.

Figure 7.7. Barchan-like sand dunes along the road at approximately Mile 27.7. Golson Butte is the high promontory beyond the dunes toward the right.

31.8   Goblin Valley is to the west, the dark-colored Entrada beds, south of the dune patches which lap up against the ledges on this side of Wild Horse Butte. The southward gentle dip of the Entrada Formation is emphasized to the south by contact with the overlying light green Curtis beds. Summerville beds, for the most part, cap the cliffline west of the Goblin Valley area.

35.7 Emery County-Wayne County Line.  Recent sand dunes are visible in the immediate vicinity particularly east of the road.

38.6   Turn out. Pointers are oriented to the major topographic features. Golson Butte is the large butte immediately west of the highway just south of the Temple Mountain area. Molly’s Castle is an outlier of Entrada Sandstone which is cast of Wild Horse Butte but west of Golson Butte. Monuments in the valley to the west are residual features of Entrada Sandstone (fig. 7.8). Factory Butte is visible above the gray Mancos Shale toward the southwest. Typical castellate development of the Entrada and Summerville beds show to the west. Typical Entrada stone baby beds form the butte adjacent to the highway on the east. Notice how the sand dune arches around the small erosional remnant east of the road. Wind whipping around the base of the pinnacle keeps the sand swept away.

Figure 7.8.View westward to Factory Butte from the turn out at Mile 38.6. Outliers in the foreground are in the Entrada Formation. Light-colored slope zones in the background beyond the Entrada beds are on the Curtis Formation. Slopes at the base of Faciory Bette are in upper beds of the Mancos Shale and are capped by Cretaceous Sandstone.

39.6   To the cast can be seen crumpled slump zone within the Entrada Formation. Most of the isolated stone babies and columns in the immediate vicinity are in intensely crumpled sections of the Entrada (fig. 7.9). Where the beds are more normally developed they erode somewhat quicker. Recent dunes blanket the Entrada Formation both east and west of the road.

42.3 Junction of the Road to the Hanksville Landing Field and Emergency Airport  , to the Left. The road descends to the south onto the floodplain of the Fremont River through a thick veneer of 20 to 30 feet of pebbly gravel terraces. The terraces are carved in the Entrada beds.

Figure 7.9. Irregularly bedded outlier of Entrada Formation at approximately Mile 39. More massive units are dolomitic and are separated by silt), less resistant units which weather away to hell) produce the “stone babies” which are characteristic Of this facies of the formation.

43.2 Bridge Over Muddy Creek and Fremont River.  Outliers of Entrada Sandstone, to the west on both the north and south sides of Muddy Creek (fig. 7.10), are capped by green resistant beds of the Curtis Formation. High on the skyline to the southwest castles of Summerville Formation are capped by a thin basal sandstone of the Morrison Formation. The Fremont River is an overloaded stream with a rather characteristic braided channel. It is entrenched 10 to 15 feet below the general valley floor from here to west of Hanksville.

Figure 7. 10.Westward up Muddy Creek from near the junction of Muddy Creek and the Fremont River near the bridge at Mile 43.2. Entrada beds are exposed along the inner gorge of the canyon, beneath light-colored Curtis Sandstone which, in turn, is overlain by cliff-forming, well-bedded Summerville beds. Outliers of Morrison Formation cap the ridge.

Figure 7.11. View westward of broad open minor folds in the Entrada Formation along the west side of the inner gorge of the Fremont River, from approximately Mile 45. Curtis Formation caps the valley w all.

44.3   View across the river of the silty stone baby beds of the Entrada Sandstone (fig. 7.11). Notice channels are developed in the upper pinkish part of the formation. These form channel fillings from broad lenses visible from here to west of Hanksville for some distance. The road continues on the east side of the Fremont River through cuts on the Entrada Formation, all capped by gravel terraces. Some of the gravel terraces are up to 200 feet above the present elevation of the river.

45.7 Junction Utah State Highway 95 with Utah State Highway 24  , continue on Utah State Highway 24 into Hanksville, to the west. Utah State Highway 95 leads south to Lake Powell and east to Natural Bridges National Monument and Blanding.

45.9 Entering Hanksville.  undefined

46.5   Businesses at west end of Hanksville. Reset mileage to 0.0.

0.0   Grocery store/cafe/motel and gas station in the west end of Hanksville business district.

0.3 Cross Fremont River on the New Bridge.  Exposures of light-colored Curtis beds can be seen immediately to the east, west and north of the north bridge abutment.

1.3   Junction of the bypass road with the Hanksville route northwest of the Fremont River bridge. Castellate surfaces on the Summerville Formation are exposed both on the north and south sides of the river, capped by basal sandstones of the Morrison Formation.

2.0   Junction of old road with the new highway. To the south where the old bridge crosses the Fremont River early inhabitants constructed a diversion dam and reservoir but within a year the sediment-laden Fremont River completely filled the reservoir.

2.4   Excellent exposures of Summerville Formation in cuts along the cliff to the north at the south rim of North Pinto Hills. A massive conglomeratic sandstone at the base of the Morrison Formation caps the cliffs on the north and south side of the river.

3.2   Top of the Summerville Formation and base of the Morrison Formation at road level. The road continues ahead in the Morrison Formation. Manti Butte to the south is composed almost totally of Morrison Formation. Floodplain of the Fremont River is visible to the south. High gravel capped terraces associated with the Fremont River are visible north and south of the river as well as upstream to the west.

4.6   Deep double road cuts through cross-bedded sandstones of the Morrison Formation. Variegated shales of the Morrison Formation are visible across the floodplain to the south as well as near the road north of the river. Cray beds above the variegated Morrison beds are part of the Cedar Mountain Formation which are overlain by Dakota Sandstone on the skyline to the north.

6.1 Turn Out on Old Road to the North.   Dakota Sandstone, filled with the oyster Gryphaea newberryi, occurs on the bluff to the east (fig. 7.12). This same sandstone can be seen to the north and northwest across the square-bottorned arroyo which is cut in alluvial valley fill. Oyster shells have been excavated on the terrace level here for road metal. Blocks which have tumbled down near the road are filled with the shells. The cross-bedded Carbonaceous material below the Dakota Sandstone may be part of an old oxbow channel-filling.

6.1 Figure 7.12.  Exposures of Gryphaea-bearing Dakota Sandstone on the north side of the canyon at approximately Mile 6. 1. Factory Butte is the chimney like outlier in the far distance.

6.5   Terrace gravels composed almost totally of oyster beds are visible on the north. These deposits are part of old oyster banks three or four feet thick in the basal unit of the Mancos Shale, possibly in a sandy beach zone at the base of the marine transgression. This is one of the famous localities for Gryphaea newberryi. Tununk member of the Mancos Shale is exposed in gray barren bluffs both north and south of the road with some sandy beds of the Dakota Sandstone exposed at the base.

7.0   Steamboat Butte is visible the southwest as a promontory in the Mancos Shale.

8.0   Old rock ruin of Giles or Blue Valley on the south side of the road. Mancos Shale capped by the Ferron Sandstone exposed to the north and west along the skyline rim at the east edge of Factory Bench erodes to form Lower Blue Hills.

8.6   Steamboat Point shows well to the south in front of the Henry Mountains. Smoke stacks on Steamboat Point are outliers of Ferron Sandstone.

10.1   Cross the square-bottorned arroyo. The road begins to climb to the west up through the upper part of the lower Tununk Member of the Mancos Shale into the Ferron Sandstone. That member of the Mancos Shale is exposed at road level. The road continues to climb through the Ferron Member.

10.9   Factory Butte to the north is capped by the higher Emery Sandstone. The Bluegate Member of the Mancos Shale separates the two sandstone units and form the exposures of the Upper Blue Hills visible ahead.

11.1   Coaly outcrops in the Ferron Sandstone with white bentonitic zones and lenticular cross-bedded sandstones associated with the coal.

11.8   Double road cut through the upper part of the Ferron Sandstone sequence containing a coal bed one and one-half feet thick. The coal bed is locally clinkered beneath the overlying gray middle shale of the Mancos Shale which erodes to form the Upper Blue Hills.

12.5   Badlands of the east face of North Caineville Mesa can be seen to the northwest. The flat in the foreground is a result of sheet wash. The whole surface runs when strong rains occur.

14.8   Boulder-protected pinnacles are visible in the fill above the Mancos Shale in the middle of the bluffs to the south on South Caineville Mesa.

15.4   Lathlike gypsum crystals make the gray cliff sparkle to the north. Terrace development continues on both sides of the river valley although from the highway terraces are most visible on the south side. Rocks in the general vicinity here are nearly flat lying in the trough of the Factory Butte Syncline, but dip back toward the east along the east side of the Waterpocket Fold in the vicinity of Caineville ahead.

17.4   View of the sediment-choked Fremont River visible to the south with its rather characteristic braided channel. Reversal of topography of sediment cover can be seen to the south. The ridges are now armoured by slope wash which originally accumulated in gullies. Because of resistance to erosion the debris protected the gully bottom while the bordering areas were eroded away more rapidly. What is now the ridge crest originally was the gully bottom. Individual boulders are also protecting pillars in the slope wash zone (fig. 7.13). Badlands near the road are in the Bluegate Shale. Emery Sandstone caps both North and South Caineville Mesas.

18.4 Road Junction in Caineville.  Foundations for the store and church on the south side of the road. The beds now dip eastward rather steeply as the road goes through the basal sequence of the Bluegate Member of the Mancos Shale very quickly. The upturned sandstone visible directly ahead are the Ferron Sandstone, this is the coal-bearing sequence seen a few miles to the east.

Figure 7.13. Hoodoos protected by boulder debris are carved in Mancos Shale on the south side of the Fremont River Valley in South Caineville Mesa at approximately Mile 14.8.

18.8   Top of the Ferron Sandstone in the cuesta that forms North Caineville Reef to the north and Caineville Reef to the south of the watergap of Caineville Wash.

19.5   View south along a cuesta of remarkably repetitive form in the basal Tununk Shale Member of the Mancos Shale along the west face of Caineville Reef (fig. 7.14). Dakota Sandstone is missing in this general vicinity and the basal Mancos Shale and the oyster beds rest directly on the Cedar Mountain Formation.

20.5   Summit, Ferron Sandstone forms the cuesta of Caineville Reef to the east. Mancos Shale is exposed in the immediate vicinity of the road. Gray and pinkish beds on the skyline to the west are in the Cedar Mountain and Morrison Formations (fig. 7.15).

Figure 7.14. View southward along the Caineville Reef, a cuesta exposing Mancos Tununk Shale be- neath a cap of resistant Ferron Sandstone. Slightly sandy beds within the Mancos Shale produce the repetitious saw-toothed resistant unit midway up the slope.

21.5   Gray beds exposed immediately west of the road are the uppermost beds of the Cedar Mountain Formation. Variegated beds below this can occasionally be seen in gullies, interbedded with pink and brighter colored units. These colored beds are in the Morrison Formation. The Ferron Sandstone continues to form a prominent cuesta of Caineville Reef on the east side, with high country east of Caineville and the Fremont River capped by a massive sandstone of the Emery Member.

22.3 Cross the Fremont River.  Exposures of Cedar Mountain and Morrison beds occur to the north and west in the Caineville Dome.

22.5 This is the Old Town site of the Village of Caineville  , first established when pioneers moved into the area. One night a flash flood almost destroyed the entire town site along with the agricultural lands in the immediate vicinity. This destruction prompted the settlers to move the village downstream to the present site on Caineville Wash. During the flood many people were happy to escape with their lives and lost almost all of their property into the Fremont River as the increase in water volume changed the meander pattern of the river.

Basal beds of the Mancos Shale, with Gryphaea newberryi beds, are exposed above the light-colored ashy Cedar Mountain beds at the south edge of the old Caineville town site. The road pulls away from the Fremont River again and climbs up through a low pass in the lower beds of the Mancos Shale.

23.7   Junction of ranch road northward into the Fremont River. Morrison beds are exposed to the northeast. The small Caineville Dome is located north of the river and has accentuated the general eastern dip of the beds off the Waterpocket Fold. North Blue Flats north of the river are in Tununk Shale in a syncline between the Cainevile structure and the major monoclinal fold of the Waterpocket structure.

24.6   Exposures of the basal beds of the Mancos Shale in road cuts with gray ashy Cedar Mountain beds visible to the west. Occasionally thin lenses of Dakota Sandstone occur at the horizon.

25.0 Road Junction South to North  and the general area of the Waterpocket Fold west of the Henry Mountains. Continue ahead on Utah State Highway 24. Road cuts on the curve are cut into ashen gray and light purple beds in the Cedar Mountain Formation. Black basalt boulder rubble veneers the general surface. These boulders were brought in from the Thousand Lake Mountain area to the west.

25.4   Junction of small road leading down to Fremont River Valley to the north. The bright-colored beds at about this point are in the Morrison Formation. The prominent sandstone conglomerate ledge approximately halfway up the slope is the Buck Horn Conglomerate, the boundary market between the Morrison Formation and the overlying Cedar Mountain Formation. Continue ahead on Utah State Highway 24 through Morrison Formation in double road cuts.

26.0   Bridge over Pleasant Creek, a stream coming in off the flank of the Water Pocket past North to the south. Morrison beds are exposed on both sides of the river, with Cedar Mountain beds forming the highest parts of the exposures on the skyline around the south rim of North Blue Flats.

28.4   Top of the Summerville Formation and the base of the Morrison Formation at road level. Exposures of the crinkly gypsiferous upper Summerville beds can be seen southeast of the road and ahead for some distance. Summerville and Curtis beds erode away easily to form subsequent valleys. South Desert Valley to the northwest is typical of this development.

28.7 Junction to North to the South.  The road to Notom climbs through the Curtis beds which are not well exposed at river level near the junction, but are well exposed just west of the junction.

29.0   Exposures of the upper Entrada Formation both north and south of the road. This is more silty and shaly than the stone baby beds where the formation was last seen near Hanksville, but it still has the same characteristic dusty red brown tone, The valley of the Fremont River widens here where the Entrada, Curtis and Summerville beds are exposed because these rocks are more easily eroded than the resistant sandstones of the overlying Morrison Formation or the underlying Carmel Formation.

29.5   Section of the road heading toward the north provides a view into the valley of South Desert along Deep Creek. The lower part of the pink section in the valley to the north is in the Entrada beds which are overlain by the prominent, but thin, light greenish band of the Curtis Sandstone. Upper pink slopes and castellate surfaces are in the Summerville Formation which is capped by massive white sandstone of the Morrison Formation.

30.4   Narrows in the canyon cut in the middle part Of the Calcareous Carmel Formation. Some gypsiferous units and some calcareous sandstones are more resistant in restricted beds.

31.2 Pull Out at the Waterfall.   The Fremont River used to flow around the meander to the south but when the highway was constructed, the river was displaced into its present new channel through the cut (fig. 7.16). To the south the prominent pink band marks the top of the Navajo Sandstone and the base of the ledge- forming Carmel Formation above. Boulders of basalt mark the prominent gravel terraces on top of the white, cross-bedded Navajo Sandstone. To the west the massive jointed Navajo Sandstone is capped above the prominent thin bedded dark red zone by the Carmel Limestone. Some terrace gravels show at intermediate levels and at approximately the same level as the terraces in the Navajo Sandstone directly to the southeast.

Figure 7.16. View westward along the diverted Fremont River near a small waterfall at Mile 31.2. Massive Navajo Sandstone forms the vertical-walled inner gorge and well-beddcd Carmel Formation forms the skyline rim.

32.0   Elijah Cuttler Behunin Cabin. It was erected here in 1892 and was occupied by a family of nine. it is approximately an 18 x 19 foot stone structure.

32.3 Entering Capitol Reef National Park.  Massive cross-bedded Navajo Sandstone forms the outcrops on both sides. On some the irregular flat stream terraces of black basalt boulders still locally veneer the bedrock.

33.4   Grand Wash enters the Fremont River from the west. Grand Wash is one of the few gorges through which one can ride a horse or drive a jeep through the Capitol Reef. A trail leads up Grand Wash slightly over a mile to the end of the road in from the upper end. Cross-bedded Navajo Sandstone is well exposed on all sides.

34.5   The shear wall on the south is carved in Navajo Sandstone, Excellent cross bedding is visible in the sandstone on the north.

34.9   Top of the Kayenta Sandstone. The Kayenta Formation is a relatively wellbedded unit in contrast with the overlying massive Navajo Sandstone. In addition it has interbedded red shales that spill over the light-colored sandstones and stain them.

35.5   Cave forming by decementation can be seen on the left in the Kayenta Sandstone (fig. 7.17). The honeycomb development is rather common in the Kayenta Sandstone and shows well here.

36.0   Cohab trail enters on the Kayenta Sandstone ledge from the southwest. Cohab trail is maintained by the park and leads through Cohab Canyon slightly over one mile to the campground near Fruita. Cross the Fremont River.

36.2 Parking Area for Hickman Arch and Cohab Canyon Trail.   A trail leads to the northwest to Hickman Natural Bridge approximately three-fourths of a mile. Whiskey Spring is approximately one mile on a trail and Rim Overlook is one and three quarters of a mile on the trail up a side canyon to the north and northwest. Top of the Wingate Sandstone appears south of the parking area and bridge near where the Cohab Trail comes onto the road. Massive sandstones on either side of the river in the immediate vicinity of the parking lot are upper beds of the Wingate Sandstone.

Figure 7.17. Westward along the Fremont River Valley and the monument access road from approximately Mile 35.5. Kayenta beds form the vegetated lower slopes beneath massive rounded exposures of Navajo Sandstone. The top of the Wingate Formation is essentially at river level.

36.7   The massive shear wall of bright colored Wingate Sandstone to the south is stained various colors from the overlying Kayenta beds. Top of the Chinle Formation and base of the angular-jointed Wingate Sandstone cliff is exposed near road level.

36.9   Petroglyph turn out. The Indian drawings, or petroglyphs, are carved in the desert varnish at the base of the cliff of the Wingate Sandstone. The large trees in the immediate vicinity were probably planted around one of the old homes which apparently was removed for construction of the road,

37.3   Capitol Reef Lodge across the gully of Sulphur Creek to the south. The road continues through fruit orchards. The lodge can be reached by turning left at the Visitors Center and return to the east on the south side of Sulphur Creek. Chinle beds are well exposed directly ahead as the lower gray green bentonitic ashy slope, a middle reddish brown slope, and an upper gray slope beneath the massive Wingate Sandstone cliff.

37.6   Base of the gray Chinle beds and top of the slabby red Moenkopi Formation on the north side of the road. Most of the rocks ahead and on the south side of the canyon of Sulphur Creek in the Moenkopi beds which have a prominent cap of basalt boulders. The road continues ahead with exposures of Moenkopi at road level. The Castle is the bold promontory ahead to the northwest (fig. 7.18).

Figure 7.18. View northward from near the Capitol Reef Monument headquarters at Mile 38. 1. Moenkopi beds form the lowe prominent nearly vertical wall beneath slopes on the Chinle Formation. Strongy-jointed Wingate Sandstone forms the cliffs and the tower beyond.

38.1 Junction of the Road to the Campground and the Visitors Center. Turn Left Off Utah State Highway 24 into Visitors Center Parking Area.  The Visitors Center is constructed of slabs of Moenkopi Sandstone. The old center is the more evenly bedded rock house behind the new structure. Excellent ripple marks, rain drop impressions, mud cracks can be seen on many of the blocks in the new building. Continue west on Utah State Highway 24 (fig. 7.19). For a side trip guide in the park area to the south, see HW-24 Road Guide..

40.7   Panorama Point provides long distance views of Capitol Reef. High peaks of the Henry Mountains can be seen to the east through the gorge of Fremont Canyon.

42.7   The inner gorge of Sulphur Creek can be seen down tributary canyons to the south. The tan ledge on the rim is in the Sinbad Limestone, slope zone is in the basal red member of the Moenkopi. The shear, lightcolored walls of the gorge are in the Kaibab Limestone.

43.2   A long descent on the highway with prominent white band of Shinarump Conglomerate exposed ahead between the Chinle and Moenkopi beds.

43.7   Turn out to the south offers a panorama view of the brilliant red walls of Wingate Sandstone to the north. The road continues ahead in the Moenkopi Formation. Prominent white ledge low on the north is the Shinarump Conglomerate. Trace the Shinarump ledge along and notice how lenticular it is. In some places it thickens to as much as 70 or 80 feet but in other places it virtually disappears between the red Moenkopi beds and overlying greenish Chinle Shale (fig. 7.20).

45.4 Twin Rocks.   These are outliers of Shinarump Conglomerate on top of the Moenkopi Formation.

46.6 Cattle Guard at Capitol Reef Monument Boundary.  undefined

47.7   Cross Sulphur Creek. Swampy areas here are probably the result of irrigation of the terrace country to the west.

50.3 Junction of Utah State Highway  undefined

50.6 Southward to Escalante Over Boulder Mountain. Continue Straight Ahead on Utah State 24 Toward Torrey and Bicknell on the north side of the Fremont River valley.  Navajo and Carmel beds can be seen south of the Teasdale Fault, beneath the volcanic cap and boulder debris of Boulder Mountain across the valley to the south.

50.9 Enter Torrey.   Thousand Lake Mountain is at two-thirty to the north. The LDS Churchhouse at Torrey is constructed out of red sandstones from the Moenkopi Formation. Coarse boulders in the vicinity of Torrey are debris of flash floods and mudflows along Sand Creek from Thousand Lake Mountain on the north. These debris fans blanket a pediment cut in Moenkopi beds.

52.1   Coarse lava boulder rubble on Poverty Flat, on the slope of the alluvial fan, out of Sand Creek covers Moenkopi rocks.

53.2   Cross the Fremont River. The river is entrenched 20 to 30 feet here below the general gravel-capped terrace surface. The road rises to the terrace surface which is formed both north and south of the road. Moenkopi and Shinarump beds form the fluted wall rim of Velvet Ridge to the north, just beyond the valley.

54.8 Junction of Utah State Highway 54 from Teasdale to the South with Utah State Highway 24.  To the southwest a nearly complete but somewhat faulted sequence of Moenkopi Formation to Carmel Limestone is exposed in the partially debris covered hills, Hummocky areas south of Teasdale are in landslide debris.

56.6 Cross the Fremont River.  The old mill on the north used to have a water wheel on the west side. The millrace is the ditch crossed by the road just after crossing the Fremont River. Shinarump Conglomerate is exposed on the ridge north of the road.

56.9   Entering broad Rabbit Valley at the upper end of the Fremont drainage and cross the trace of the Thousand Lake Fault. Rabbit Valley to the west is on the downdropped block. Bicknell Bottoms are located to the west. The broad high lava-covered slopes of Fish Lake Plateau call be seen across the valley to the west. Lava-capped terraces still spill over Moenkopi and Carmel beds on the east side of the road in the immediate vicinity.

Figure 7.20. Banded castellate cliffs of upper Moenkopi beds beneath Shinarump and Chinle rocks along the north side of the highway at approximately Mile 44.

58.1   Exposures of the red rocks of the Moenkopi up to the pink Carmel Limestone can be seen east of the Thousand Lake Fault on the western margin of Thousand Lake Mountain. Alluvial fans from the mountain are deeply blanketed with black lava boulders. The boulders occasionally accumulate a light gray calcareous cover after they have been partially buried in soil. Where they have been turned over to expose this cover on their lower surface, such as along the highway, they appear black and white.

59.6 Entering Bicknell.  Gray debris and volcanic rocks of the Thousand Lake Mountain complex are visible to the northeast of town, beyond ashy outcrops of Tertiary Flagstaff or Brian Head-equivalent rocks in the immediate bluffs. Basalt caps the summit.

64.2 Enter Lyman.   Volcanic exposures and debris from the Thousand Lake Mountain area blanket the mountain flank east of Lyman. Immediate exposures are ashy Paleocene Flagstaff Limestone or Brian Head equivalents.

66.7 Junction Utah State Highway State 250 with Utah State Highway 24.  State Highway 250 leads north from the middle of the valley to Fremont at the north end of the valley. Continue ahead on Utah State Highway 24.

67.9 Enter Loa.  undefined

69.2 Junction of Utah State Highway 72 Northeast to Fremont.  Continue on north and northwest of the junction on Utah State Highway 24 toward Fish Lake, Sigurd, and Richfield. Upper end of the valley to the north is fault controlled, with lavas exposed on both sides of the valley. The road begins to climb to the northwest over the low foothills of the Awapa or Fish Lake Plateau.

71.4   Center of a long swinging bend in the road with bouldery debris from the Fish Lake volcanic field exposed in road cuts.

72.6   Outcrops of Early Tertiary basalt, andesite, and basaltic andesite can be seen in the deep V-shaped gorge cut in the pediment surface to the south.

73.4   View at seven o’clock to the southeast shows typical irregular ragged ledge of Early Tertiary volcanic outcrops in the V-shaped canyon which has entrenched into the general upland surface of the Awapa Plateau, The road continues ahead on a terrace with the entrenched V-shaped canyon to the south. Tertiary volcanic material is exposed on the bluff to the north. In general, however, the volcanic rocks here form poor exposures, presumably because of the very deep weathering on the uplands of the plateau.

77.3   The wide notch on the skyline to the north is caused by the downdropped graben block of the Fish Lake Area.

80.3 Summit-Piute County-Wayne County Line.  Elevation 8,406. Fish Lake Mountain forms the prominent skyline knob to the north. The sharp indentation of the skyline to the northeast is the Fish Lake graben. Directly to the west is Koosharem Valley directly to the west in front of Koosharem Mountain on the skyline. The area to the west is also a part of the Fish Lake volcanic providence but has been faulted. The road descends the western fault line and monclinal scarp into Koosharem Valley. Exposures of deeply weathered volcanic debris and tuffaceous rocks occur in road cuts.

81.5   View into Koosharem Valley and over the community of Koosharem to the west. The escarpment here is probably a long fault zone which is coupled with some monoclinal downbending, structure is uncertain, the bedding in the volcanic sequence is poor, and key beds are rare.

82.3 Junction of Utah State Highway 25   to Fish Lake. Continue Straight Ahead on Utah State Highway 24. The road into Fish Lake climbs the escarpment.

84.4 Sevier County-Piute County Line East of Summit.  A cuesta of volcanic rocks rises to the west of the road. The road is on a less resistant unit of the Oligocene Bullion Canyon volcanic sequence east of the Paunsaugunt Fault.

89.1 Junction of Utah State Highway 62 to Koosharem with Utah State Highway 24. Continue Straight Ahead on Utah State Highway 24.  undefined

90.8   West abutment of the dam for Koosharem Reservoir. High peaks of the Fish Lake Plateau visible to the east across Koosharem Reservoir have been glaciated, although the evidence for glaciation can’t be seen from here. The road continues to the north along the west side of the valley. The gentle eastward slope is on Bullion Canyon volcanic debris west of the Valley Fault. The entire country here has a rather somber gray tone which is because of the purplish gray and dark brown volcanic rocks that produce most of the topography.

97.2   Junction of Forest Service Road to the north into the upper end of Koosharem Valley. Continue on Utah State Highway 24. The road swings to the west through a low pass north of Cove Mountain through the Bullion Canyon volcanics.

99.3 Beginning of Steep Downgrade into Peterson Creek Canyon  off the north flank of Cove Mountain. Junipers and sage brush have been railed off here to improve the range character and productivity. Bedrock still consists of deeply weathered volcanic debris.

100.2   Peterson Creek is an entrenched small stream which is 10 to 20 feet below the projected grade of the terraces on both sides. Such entrenching is common over much of the Fish Lake Plateau and the other high plateaus of central Utah.

100.7   Cross Peterson Creek. Weathered volcanic rocks are exposed in road cuts just beyond the bridge abutment and in ragged exposures on both sides of the canyon wall above the flat valley fill on down the canyon.

101.9   Weathered lava flows and debris exposed in road cuts. These are probably the best exposed volcanic rocks along the highway.

105.9 Junction of Utah State Highway 119 West to Richfield with Utah State Highway 24. Continue Ahead on Utah State Highway 24.  Road side exposures are in weathered volcanic debris and tuffaceous material. The road continues to the north in debris from the Tertiary volcanic field to the east.

106.5   Cross the bridge. Exposures of Jurassic Arapien Shale are visible directly ahead. This formation is equivalent to the Carmel Formation exposed in the San Rafael Swell, Capitol Reef Area, and country to the east of the Wasatch and Fish Lake Plateaus. To the cast Tertiary volcanic rocks erode to form cliffs of hoodoos and less severe slopes (fig. 7.2 1).

Figure 7.21. Eastward across a small valley carved in Arapien Shale at approximately Mile 106 to irregular hoodoos and erosional remnants in volcanic rocks along the western margin of the Fish Lake Plateau.

107.4   Arapien Shale is exposed in contorted and salt-heaved outcrops with massive gypsum beds in light gray, gray green, and pink shales exposed on both sides of the valley. Outcrops to the southwest are partially buried beneath terrace gravels of volcanic debris.

108.7   Massive gypsum of the Arapien Shale is exposed in road cuts on the east side of the road. Koosharem Mountain and the Pavant Range behind Richfield can be seen over the low hills of Arapien Shale to the west at ten o’clock. The road continues through exposures of Arapien Shale (fig. 7.22) with the valley floor filled with alluvium. Regional dips are difficult to obtain in the Arapien Shale because of complex heaving and tectonic involvement.

Figure 7.22. Crumpled and folded gypsiferous Arapien Shale exposed on the north side of the canyon at approximately Mile 108.7. More resistant units are gypsum beds interspersed in the easily eroded silty-shale

110.1   Cross a small bridge and continue on down into the narrows of the lower part of the canyon. Conglomeratic terrace gravels are exposed on the north side of the road. Some of these deposits have been used for road metal.

111.3   Cross trace west of the Sevier Fault at the mouth of the canyon. Plasterboard plants are visible to the north. These plants utilize gypsum from the Arapien Shale exposed along the valley margin for some miles to the northeast.

112.1 Intersection in Sigurd.  The U.S. Gypsum Plasterboard Plant is directly to the cast. Continue across the railroad tracks. North out of Sigurd on Utah State Highway 24.

112.7   Meander of the Sevier River. The river is backed up into Rockford Reservoir by a low dam downstream a short distance. Red rocks to the west, across Sevier Valley are part of the Paleocene Flagstaff or the Bryce Canyon Formation. This is about the southernmost exposure of the formation locally for south of Richfield it is covered by volcanics of the Marysvale district and Fish Lake Plateau.

113.4 Entering Vermilion.  Vermilion received its name from the bright red soil and debris brought into the Sevier Valley by streams draining the Pavant Range to the west. Excellent exposures of massive gypsum in the Arapien Formation can be seen in the west face of the Fish Lake Plateau to the east. A complex road and mine system of the gypsum mines is mainly along the low flank of the plateau in the valley behind the small foothills.

114.0 Cross Over Tracks of D&RGW Railroad and Junction with I-70 / U.S. Highway 89  , For a description of the route to the north and south see HW-24 Road Guide..